The airborne rescue system includes a boom with telescoping members for extending a line and collar to a rescue victim. The boom extends beyond the tip of the helicopter rotor so that the victim may avoid the rotor downwash. The rescue line is played out and reeled in by winch. The line is temporarily retained under the boom. When the boom is extended, the rescue line passes through clips. When the victim dons the collar and the tension in the line reaches a predetermined level, the clips open and release the line from the boom. Then the rescue line can form a straight line between the victim and the winch, and the victim can be lifted to the helicopter. A translator is utilized to push out or pull in the telescoping members. The translator comprises a tape and a rope. Inside the telescoping members the tape is curled around the rope and the tape has a tube-like configuration. The tape and rope are provided from supply spools.